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I have a quick story to share that shows how cool it is to have web hooks. I was writing another post and ended up going on a tangent with this, so I figured I’d give it its own post.

At the last SuperHappyDevHouse, I presented Get Achievements, an XBox Live-style achievement platform I built one night. The only thing was, it had no pretty aesthetic to it, so I rushed what you see there now during DevHouse so I could present it at our lightning talks. I was hacking with a designer friend up until somebody came upstairs to tell me I was up soon, but just then I was struck with a great idea: what if I could add achievements to the DevHouse wiki? Get Achievements requires you to make backend changes to your code, and PBwiki is a hosted service. However, PBwiki recently added web hooks, so theoretically I could use them to trigger the achievements. Could I rig it up in the time I had left?

What I needed to do was have an event in PBwiki POST to a URL on Get Achievements that unlocks an achievement. I needed something simple and quick, so I figured I’d make a login achievement. With this, if I login to the wiki, I’d be rewarded with fanfare and a box saying “Login Achievement Unlocked” as you can do with Get Achievements. But how can I make PBwiki POST to Get Achievements when you login? Well, I can’t, it’s a hosted service. But like I said, they had web hooks, and they included logging in as a hookable event.

At this point I was downstairs less than 10 minutes from my 5 minute lightning talk. I let some people go ahead as I rushed through this sitting on the floor with my laptop. I needed a place to write a hook script for PBwiki that would POST to Get Achievements. Very simple. AppJet was the first place that came to mind, and because I didn’t have to set up an application config file or upload anything with an SDK, I was able to add achievements to the SuperHappyDevHouse wiki in less than 10 minutes… thanks to hooks and AppJet.

I got up there and showed them how cool Get Achievements was, and then I dazzled them with a demo of the DevHouse wiki with a login achievement. Sure, it was more a demo of web hooks than Get Achievements at that point, and because not everybody knows what the hell I’m talking about most of the time, I didn’t get the standing ovation I was looking for, but it went well. I had to go around after, asking my friends if they really got how awesome what I just did was.

From idea to a (mostly) working demo for something that would normally involve making backend code changes, I did as a user, in a panic, terribly fast. Just an example of what’s possible in a world with web hooks…

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Easy hook scripts with Scriptlets « Web Hooks on 18 Apr 2009 at 4:38 am

    […] Web Hooks User-defined HTTP callbacks for push, pipes and plugins About « Extending hosted services as fast as lightning […]

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